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Passing of Fred Malek

With great sadness, the Embassy of the Czech Republic learned of the passing of Fred Malek, a prominent member of the Czech American community, who went to his eternal rest on  Sunday, March 24, 2019.

Fred Malek

Fred Malek

A native of Berwyn, Illinois, Fred was one of the most influential and successful Americans of Czech descent. He made outstanding contributions to the bonds between the Czech Republic and the United States, to freedom and democracy for the Czech people, and to civic life in his American homeland. His long and varied career included military service, business, investments, philanthropy, public service, politics, and non-profit leadership, for which he received numerous awards.

As of his passing, he was Founder and Chairman of Thayer Lodging. Previously in his business career he was President and CEO of Marriott Hotels and Northwest Airlines, as well as Co- Chairman of CBRE. As a partner with former President George W. Bush, he co-owned the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. As a philanthropist, he was Chairman of the Board of Visitors of West Point, Founder and Director of the American Action Network, Founder and Chairman of the American Action Forum, and Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as well as a Director of the Aspen Institute and the American-Israel Friendship League. Named after him and his wife, Marlene, are the Frederic Malek West Point Visitors Center and the Marlene and Fred Malek School of Health Professions at Marymount University. As AFoCR’s Chairman, Fred raised the funds to build the Woodrow Wilson Monument in Prague and led the rebuilding of the Sokol gymnasium in the town of West, Texas, after a disastrous industrial explosion in 2013.

His awards included the 2014 Distinguished Graduate award from West Point as well as the ADL Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League. In addition to his business career, Fred served as an advisor to four U.S. Presidents. He appeared frequently on television news shows including Fox News, Meet the Press, Fox Sunday, and Face the Nation.

A graduate of West Point and the Harvard Business School, he served in Vietnam as an Army airborne ranger with a special forces team. In addition to his wife, he leaves two children, Michelle Olson and Fred Malek, Jr., and five grandchildren. Besides family, his passions included biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

His passing is a huge loss to the community, but his legacy will live on in our shared memories. From the time in 2000 when he became Chairman of the American Friends of the Czech Republic, Fred never wavered in his support and valued leadership, as he lived his Czech heritage for the good of all Czechs here and abroad. We are grateful for all the wisdom and generosity he shared.

We extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. A great leader, mentor, and friend who walked with all and led many — may he rest in peace.